Last weekend. in a battle of undefeated teams, the Portsmouth Warriors proved why they’re the top-ranked team in the country.
The Warriors defeated the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Dukes 44-12 on Saturday at Spartan Stadium, running their record to 5-0 while holding on to the top spot in the AA East National Poll.
Portsmouth was again led by quarterback Justin Lunsford, who completed 10 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
The Warriors also got big production from its running backs. Second-year back Jontez Jones led the way, rushing for 123 yards and a score, while Luke Brown and Dakota Smith each caught a touchdown pass.
Early on, the Dukes (4-1) proved why they’re one of the top teams in the Blue Collar Football League. Cincinnati scored on a long touchdown pass and a one-yard touchdown run to take a 12-6 lead in the opening moments of the second quarter.
The first Duke touchdown came on a perfectly-thrown, 40-yard pass. The second score was set up by a one-handed grab on a deflected pass.
“There wasn’t much we could do,” Warrior defensive coordinator Brian Wroten said. “You just scratch your head and wonder if the football Gods are against you on that series.”
But, the rest of the period belonged to Portsmouth’s Snook Martin. The Warrior defensive back intercepted two passes in the second quarter and returned both for touchdowns. Sandwiched in between the picks was a 31-yard pass from Lunsford to Smith.
In addition to his two pick-sixes, Martin also returned a punt for a touchdown that was negated by a holding call.
When the dust settled, the Warriors held a 24-12 halftime lead.
Portsmouth didn’t take its foot off the gas in the second half. The Warriors outscored the Dukes 20-0 over the final two periods to seal the game.
“Overall, we started slow as a team and played sloppy at times,” Warrior head coach Jamie Rice said. “I liked how our team reacted to a little bit of adversity by scoring some on offense and playing hard-nosed, smart football on defense.”
In addition to Martin, the Warriors got big defensive production from former Chillicothe linebacker Shay Netter. He recorded nine tackles, one for a loss.
The Warriors will put their undefeated record on the line Saturday, when they travel to Fairmont, W. Va. to take on the Northern Bulldogs (1-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter